What Would I Do To Improve The Winnipeg Jets?

I tweeted out the following comment —

“I’m OK with the “be patient” crowd but why can’t the Winnipeg Jets be improved while sticking to THE PLAN, it’s an ongoing process not just drafting.”

 There was lots of interesting dialogue back and forth when the following question popped up. 

I thought about it and thought about it again.  There is no definitive “first thing” I would do but I know what my “first priority” would be.  I would upgrade the bottom four forwards.  I’ll save my thoughts on the blue-line and goaltending  for a future discussion.  

I would be curious to know what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff thinks about this roster?  Not the politically correct stuff he has to tell the media in a newspaper article or a radio~tv interview.  I would like to have the discussions you have in a NHL war-room.  No holds barred.  Spirited back and forth discussion with total honesty.

I remember the first time I was in a situation like that at the WHL level.  I sat and observed, kept my mouth shut and my ears opened.  My first observation was that a great number of  the scouts and other management in the room were “yes-men.”  I saw absolutely no value in agreeing with the bosses opinion at every turn.  I don’t know how many times I rolled my eyes?  I vowed next time I was going to contribute and say what was on my mind, not what I thought our GM and/or Head Scout wanted to hear.

So back to my one on one with Chevy.  The team vision for many fans might not be all that different that their team’s GM.  The question is probably more about execution of the vision.

Now I think Chevy is a pretty smart guy.  Does he think that  James Wright, Chris Thorburn, Matt Halischuk, Eric Tangradi and Anthony Peluso need to be upgraded or Mark Stuart, Grant Clitsome or Adam Pardy have any long term future on the Jets blue-line?  I would be shocked and disappointed if he did.

Let’s say for arguments sake our top two lines are:

Ladd, Little, Wheeler

Kane, Scheifele, Frolik

I’m okay with that but now comes the problem …. NEXT

Jokinen and Setoguchi need to be re-signed at third line money …. so now we have a third line of:

?????, Jokinen, Setoguchi ….  we need a LW with a legitimate 2nd or 3rd line skill set (Jussi Jokinen, Mason Raymond) mmmm? …. NEXT

This is where it gets real interesting.  The Winnipeg Jets are never going to be able to attract 1 and 1A type free agents.  It’s not a pessimistic view,  it’s just a reality …. BUT what you can do is attract second and third tier free agents.  Your team may never have a true first line but you can try to balance it out with not having a true fourth line.  I would try to structure my line-up with two second lines and two third lines that have an undeniable work ethic.

So right now we are one LW short on the third line and we need to completely re-structure the fourth line to be on par with the finished Jokinen line.  

Waiting for Petan, Lowry, etc isn’t fair to the current roster players.

This is where I would focus this off-season.  I would be trading, waiving, releasing or whatever it takes to get ride of our bottom four forwards.  That money saved and the increased salary cap should be way more than enough to ice a good hockey team whether by trade or free agent acquisition. I would also add Dustin Byfuglien into the trade conversation to upgrade our top end talent but only if the price was right. 

AND

It’s all about talent evaluation.  If the current brain trust has a different vision that still includes the players I would move than they either over-value their worth or I under-value their worth.  So I would lose this battle because I’m a blogger and not qualified.  The benefit of the doubt always goes to the professional, right?

As they say  

Your thoughts? 

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